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The UK should look at lowering the age of consent to 14

Peter TatchellBy Peter Tatchell, Pink News

The Number 10 Policy Unit recently proposed a reduction in the age of consent to 14. It was dismissed by David Cameron. Peter Tatchell and Jules Hillier of Brook, the youth advice centre, discussed the proposal on BBC Woman’s Hour. Both opposed the criminalisation of consenting relations between under-16s of similar ages. Peter Tatchell sets out reasons why consideration should be given to reducing the age of consent – providing it is accompanied by earlier, better quality sex and relationship education:
 
In the UK, the average age of first sexual experience is 14, according to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles – the largest and most comprehensive sex survey ever conducted.
 
This means that more than half of all teenagers – straight and LGBT – are criminalised. They risk being sentenced to five years in a youth detention centre and being placed on the sex offenders register – even if they consent and even if they are involved with someone of a similar age. This is the law, as set out in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
 
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